- Eastern Washington is a 12.5-point road favorite over Northern Arizona on Friday in the Big Sky Conference opener for both teams at the Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff
- The teams have combined for only one win in eight games as Eastern Washington beat Albertson, an NAIA school
- Northern Arizona’s average margin of defeat has been 34 points in its three games
Eastern Washington and Northern Arizona will try it again when they meet at 2 p.m. ET Friday in the Big Sky Conference opener for both teams at the Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff, Ariz.
The teams were originally scheduled to meet in a two-game series on Dec. 3 and 5. However, those games were postponed because of COVID-19 concerns.
Friday’s game is the first of a two-game series with the finale set for Saturday afternoon. The Big Sky is having teams play back-to-back games in one site this season to cut down on travel and the possibility of players or staff contracting the coronavirus.
Eastern Washington is a double-digit road favorite Friday.
Eastern Washington vs Northern Arizona Odds
|Eastern Washington||-1200||-12.5 (-110)||Over 145.5 (-110)|
|Northern Arizona||+700||+12.5 (-110)||Under 145.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Dec. 17 from FanDuel
This game features a pair of teams who have a combined one win this season and that was Eastern Washington defeating Albertson, an NAIA school.
Eastern Washington is 1-4 but 3-1 against the spread. Northern Arizona is 0-3 both straight up and ATS.
Eastern Washington Hangs Tough
Two of the Eastern Washington’s losses have come on the road to Pac-12 teams and it lost by just three points in each game.
The Eagles dropped a 71-68 decision to Washington State in its opener as 5.5-points underdogs. As a 12.5-point underdog, Eastern Washington fell 70-67 to Arizona.
In its last game on Tuesday, Eastern Washington lost 80-75 at Saint Mary’s. The Eagles did get under the nine-point spread, though.
Junior forward Tanner Groves led Washington State with 17 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore wing Tyler Robertson also scored 17 points and senior guard Jacob Davison added 15.
Robertson leads a balanced scoring attack with a 13.6 point a game average. He is followed by Davison (12.6), Tanner Groves (12.2) and senior wing Jacob Groves (10.2).
1st, 9:43 | Great defensive effort leads to the transition three pointer by Tyler Robertson!
The Eags are DOMINATING!
🐺11#GoEags #LetItFly #BigSkyMBB pic.twitter.com/63UNJvYsLF
— EWU MBB (@EWUMBB) December 11, 2020
The Groves are brothers from Spokane, Wash., and Tanner tops the Eagles with 9.2 rebounds a game.
Davison is 13th in the nation with 34.0% of possessions used.
Northern Arizona Struggling
Northern Arizona has been uncompetitive in each of its three games.
The Lumberjacks’ average margin of defeat is 34 points. Their closest loss has been by 24 points at home to UC Riverside 74-50 as 5.5-point dogs.
Not surprisingly, Northern Arizona is among the worst teams in the country both offensively and defensive.
According to KenPom.com, the Lumberjacks are 305th among the 357 Division I teams if adjusted offensive efficiency with 93.1 points per 100 possession. Their 108.3 adjusted defensive efficiency ranks 338th.
Northern Arizona’s latest drubbing was 91-52 at Colorado State on Monday night as a 15.5-point underdog. Junior guard Cameron Shelton scored 18 points and junior guard Luke Avdalovic added 12.
(2nd | 13:13) NAU 40 – CSU [email protected] AND-1.#NAUStrong ⚒️🌲🏀 #BigSkyMBB pic.twitter.com/S0xyKLUp8F
— NAU Men’s Basketball (@NAUBasketball) December 15, 2020
Shelton and Avdalovic are the Lumberjacks’ two returning starters and clearly their best players. Shelton is averaging 15.3 points and 1.7 steals while Avdalovic’s numbers are 13.3 and 1.3.
Like Davison, much of Northern Arizona’s offense goes through Shelton. He is 11th in the nation with 34.5% of possessions used.
The all-time series is close as Eastern Washington leads 37-36. However, the Eagles have won the last six matchups – covering in all six and 10 of the last 11.
Last season, Eastern Washington won 80-70 at home and 77-66 in Flagstaff while favored by seven and 1.5 points.
Using comparative scores to make predictions can be problematic at times. However, doing so is instructive in this case.
Eastern Washington lost to Arizona by three points Dec. 5. Two days later, Northern Arizona traveled to Tucson and was routed 96-53 by the Wildcats as a 23-point underdog.
Look for Eastern Washington to roll in this one.
The Pick: Eastern Washington -12.5 (-110)